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The conclusions will probably come as a surprise exactly none of you, but a new study from the International Monetary Fund on the influence of campaign donations and lobbying politics is worth a mention because of the completeness of the research and the authority of its source. Two IMF economists, Deniz Igan and Prachi Mishra, have been examining how the targeted political activities of financial corporations between 1999 and 2006 affected how Congress voted on bills that strengthened or loosened regulation of Wall Street leading up to the 2008 crisis. They found -- surprise! -- that the more the corporations spent on campaign donations and lobbying, the more likely Congress was to vote in favor of deregulation. Furthermore, they found that the money Wall Street spent on lobbying members of Congress who were connected to Wall Street, either from having worked there in the past or through a former staff member who had gone through the revolving door to K Street, had a much stronger effect on their voting than on those who had no Wall Street connections

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Last year, the independent, non-partisan Office of Congressional Ethics asked the House Ethics Committee to look into some fishy fundraising activity by three congressmen -- Rep. Joseph Crowley [D, NY-7], Rep. John Campbell [R, CA-48] and Rep. Tom Price [R, GA-6]. The allegation was that they held an unusually high number of campaign fundraising events with Wall Street types in the days leading up to the vote on the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act and that this may amount to soliciting funds "in a manner which gave the appearance that special treatment or access was being provided to donors or the appearance that the contributions were linked to an official act."

Well, the Ethics Committee has issued their findings, and though they found that staff members were involved in fundraising and fundraising consultants were involved in setting up lobbyist meetings, they didn't see anything wrong with any of it.

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Censuring Rangel

November 30, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The House Ethic Committee ha released the official text of their resolution censuring Rep. Charles Rangel [D, NY-15] for the 11 counts of violating House rules that he has been found guilty of:

Resolved, That (1) Representative Charles B. Rangel of New York be censured; (2) Representative Charles B. Rangel forthwith present himself in the well of the House for the pronouncement of censure; (3) Representative Charles B. Rangel be censured with the public reading of this resolution by the Speaker; and (4) Representative Rangel pay restitution to the appropriate taxing authorities or the U.S. Treasury for any unpaid estimated taxes outlined in Exhibit 066 on income received from his property in the Dominican Republic and provide proof of payment to the Committee.

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Congress Links

July 29, 2010 - by David Moore

Congress Links for Thursday, July 29th - to be continually updated over the day. Senate Democrats call for fillibuster reform. (CBS News) Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) faces ethics charges around 1pm ET today: latest news and blog coverage on him from around the Web, aggregated here on OC. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and Senate Foreign Relations Committee unsure if hearing over New Start arms treaty with Russia will occur. (NY Times, and Associated Press). Congress passed S. 1789 -Fair Sentencing ...

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Democrats Announce Corporate Earmarking Ban

March 10, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The long-standing congressional tradition of directing federal money to corporations in your state or district, often in exchange for campaign contributions, may be coming to an end. Well, at least in appropriations bills.

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Rangel Steps Down

March 3, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Rep. Charles Rangel [D, NY-15] Democrat, one of the most powerful Democrats in the House, announced this morning that he is temporarily stepping down from his role as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. The House ethics committee last week found him to have violated House ethics rules in 2007 by accepting travel from corporations that employ lobbyists.

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Rangel Under Fire For Breaking House Rules

February 26, 2010 - by Eric Naing

An admonishment by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct could threaten the powerful chairmanship of Rep. Charlie Rangel [D, NY-15].

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Rangel Still Popular in NY

February 26, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

The powerful House Ways and Rep. Charles Rangel [D, NY-15] is a great example. For the past year or so, he's been tied up in some really ugly ethics investigations. Yesterday, he was found to have violated House ethics rules by accepting paid vacations from corporations that employ lobbyists. But look at his approval numbers -- only 12.9% nationally approve of the job he's doing, while a full 67% of New Yorkers approve.

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Sen. Ensign's Untangling Web

October 2, 2009 - by Paul Blumenthal

Earlier this year, Sen. John Ensign, a rising star in the Republican party, revealed that he had had an affair with the wife of a top aide and close friend. Unlike the more famous affair revelation of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, Ensign's affair wasn't a tale of true love, but a story about corrupt politicians paying out hush money.

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House Members' Online Earmark Disclosures

April 8, 2009 - by Avelino Maestas

Earmarks are such a hot topic because of the potential for abuse (as we'll see below), while proponents argue they enable lawmakers to fund projects that are needed and requested by constituents. With Sen. John McCain taking his principled stand against earmarks during the 2008 Presidential Election, it's not a surprise that the practice would fall under increased scrutiny during the 111th Congress. Turns out members of the House were required to disclose their earmark requests for 2010 this past weekend.

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